Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the endless expanses of Wikipedia

I was exploring Wikipedia, as I do when I am not focused (bad Hal!), clicking on things inspired by the centennial of everyone's favorite structural anthropologist (is that the right term? I'm not sure. The similarity between apologist and anthropologist is striking), and noticed that the curiously named little template, "Sub-fields of and approaches to Human geography," has, inexplicably, a picture of what appears to be a homeless Indian man in front of a Pepsi logo, or ad, or maybe distribution center. How weird.

Happy Birthday, Claude

Claude Levi-Strauss turns 100:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New thing: "kidpiphany"

kidpiphany: n., a sudden realization which is obvious or uninteresting to other people, i.e., the kind of epiphany a kid would have.

Examples of kidpiphanies:

"So wait, plums and prunes....those are the same thing?"

"Let me get this straight, you're telling me we can dig a hole to China if we just kept digging?"

"The Chronicles of Narnia is actually Christian."

And so on...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It's a Hungarian word for the wistful happiness brought on by drinking and listening to Gypsy music for hours on end.

"One rowdy tableful, riotously calling for wilder music and for stronger wine, was close to collapse. 'They will be in tears soon,' Miklos said with a smile, and he was right. But they were not tears of sorrow; it was a sort of ecstasy that damped those wrinkled eye-sockets. I learnt about mulatsag for the first time -- the high spirits, that is, the rapture and the melancholy and sometimes the breakage that the stringed instruments of Gypsies, abetted by constant fluid intake, can bring about.. I loved this despised music too, and when we got up to go after a couple hours, felt touched by the same maudlin delectation. A lot of wine had passed our lips."
-Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sometimes it's not good to have a wide vocabulary

This is true of spell-checkers; if your dictionary were the OED, you'd allow a lot of typos in.

This is true of video game players; if you're aware of the word ken, it makes Street Fighter a confusing game.

This is true of myself as a Princeton alum; I refuse to be objectified as a double sulfate.